It has been more than a decade since the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) ran the 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study. The 100-Car project captured unobtrusively the real-world driving behaviours of 109 primary drivers and 132 secondary drivers travelling in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. as they made their normal, daily commutes.

Since the 100 Car study, other naturalistic driving projects at VTTI followed suit which resulted in more than 2.5 petabytes of data stored on site, comprising a range of objectives, vehicle types, drivers and different locations. Given its large national and international naturalistic driving data base, the VTTI reduction labs now offer their analysis experience to third parties who wish to mine and reduce the data to answer subsequent research questions. Third  parties may wish to study specific driving performance factors that can include distraction, impairment, fatigue, aggressiveness, illegal manoeuvres, and the impact of age. The vast amount of data collected by VTTI across different age groups, vehicle models, and locations can help provide the foundation to accurately assess the major issues affecting driver safety.

The Center for Data Reduction and Analysis Support at VTTI provides support to a standardised access to and analysis of numerous naturalistic driving study data sets held at VTTI. The Center’s services include coding video and audio data, data quality assurance, data standardisation, data mining, event selection, and data analysis. The Center also actively supports data analysis collaborations with external institutions.

The Center for Data Reduction and Analysis Support comprises two groups: Data Reduction and Data Analysis Support. The former provides assistance with video and/or audio analysis in the areas of driver performance and behaviour metrics, situational analysis, and environmental characteristics.  The Data Reduction Group provides efficient, accurate, and comprehensive coding of videos to meet the specific needs of each unique research project, and conducts the necessary groundwork to prepare a video data set for analysis. The Group also trains and manages the required data reduction staff, conducts extensive quality control through out the reduction phase, and prepares final sets of coded data. The Data Analysis Support Group on the other hand performs activities and projects that improve the state of and access to the naturalistic driving data sets available at VTTI, and remove any roadblocks to efficient data use and analysis.

The Center for Data Reduction and Analysis Support manages a Secure Data Enclave where researchers from other institutions and agencies may visit VTTI to view otherwise restricted data.  Some researchers prefer to use this enclave to perform their own data reduction, while others use the enclave to gain familiarity with data and to prepare data reduction protocols that in-house reductionists at VTTI can then use. Some researchers visit the enclave after the data reduction is completed to gain understanding of their findings.

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Original author: Maria